The obesogenic environment

Scientific American: Consumption Junction: Childhood Obesity Determined Largely by Environmental Factors, Not Genes or Sloth

Regardless of the mechanism, these findings also support the notion that the entirety of kids’ 21st-century environment—not their self-control or reduced physical activity—is the key culprit in the rise in obesity. “People like to make obesity a disease of blame, but the last 40 years has not seen an epidemic of our children losing willpower,” Freedhoff says. “There are dozens and dozens of these environmental factors. Unless we reengineer our children’s environments, we are not likely to see any changes in children’s weights.”

What I notice, and what the article confirms, is that people eat everywhere and all the time. Every occasion, and even every non-occasion, is considered an appropriate time to eat. Going shopping? Eat. Break at work? Donuts! Watching television or at a movie? Beer and chips.

Freedhoff himself is developing a program for families that focuses on “redrafting” kids’ and families’ environments, starting with more home cooking. “Every parent would die for their child, but most won’t cook for their children on a consistent basis with whole ingredients,” he says.



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Loic says April 11, 2013

As someone who read Barry Groves’ “Trick and Treat” two weeks ago, Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” last week, and who is mostly through Volek and Phinney’s “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” this week, I have to believe that part of the problem is satiety; if they ate fewer carbs (well, far fewer carbs) then much of what you describe could be ameliorated.

Not to not discount your (valid) observation, but I think that you are describing people of lower socioeconomic status. You might (correctly) counter by pointing out that people of lower socioeconomic status did not behave in so slovenly, gluttonous, and shameless a manner one or two generations previously and I would then have to shrug my shoulders and agree with you.

Mangan says April 13, 2013

Loic, agree that carbs are part of the problem. Thing is, do people who eat constantly do so because they’re hungry or because they want a dopamine hit (pleasurable food)?

Also agree that people willing to cut the carbs probably have higher conscientiousness, IQ, and SES.

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